Firms helping vulnerable during pandemic recognised in Dragon Awards


An app which mobilised volunteers to shop for vulnerable people during the pandemic is among the winners in London’s top responsible business gongs.

Described as an ‘Uber for volunteers’, onHand, which matches volunteers with projects in need of help, won the Lord Mayor’s Award for Innovation During COVID-19 in the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards.

The company is one of six winners in the awards, held every year by the City of London Corporation to recognise businesses which build strong community relationships, tackle disadvantage or inequality, promote inclusion or boost skills.

The winning schemes include an online tutoring platform to help children with their maths skills during lockdown and an initiative aimed at building skills in young people.

The winners were announced on Thursday evening (29) at a ‘virtual’ awards ceremony from Mansion House hosted by Lord Mayor William Russell and businessman and former Apprentice winner Tim Campbell.

Lord Mayor William Russell said:

“This extraordinary year has presented enormous challenges for individuals and organisations across London and the UK, and has highlighted more than ever the important role businesses can play in working for the benefit of their communities.

“I was really impressed with the innovative, creative and impactful ways companies, which have themselves faced difficult times during the pandemic, have given their time and effort to help make a positive impact on people’s lives.”

The onHand app launched in Lambeth, in partnership with Lambeth Council, Age UK and the British Red Cross. It has helped deliver shopping to thousands of elderly, vulnerable or shielding people in the borough who couldn’t get out, and is now running across the country.

onHand CEO Sanjay Lobo said:

“The feedback from the people we’ve been able to help has been fantastic – we’ve had people calling us in tears or leaving handwritten notes for volunteers. At a time when they weren’t able to have any physical contact, this was a vital way for people to have some human interaction.

“The success of schemes like this shows the huge amount of goodwill that exists across the UK. Winning this award is really humbling and builds on the incredible momentum building for businesses doing good and delivering profit with purpose.”

WeAgile, a Shoreditch-based digital creative studio whose mantra is ‘Digital used for Good’, won the Heart of the City Award for its free online tutoring platform which delivered maths lessons to hundreds of year five and six children during the first and second lockdowns.